I recently finished up the latest title by Rumaan Alam and it left me, well, in an unsure place. I enjoyed the book, and it certainly touched on themes of race and class in America that are conspicuous in today’s climate, but I also was waiting for something to happen that never quite materialzed to a degree that I was satisfied with. But maybe that was the way it needed to be.
I will concede that the book was the perfect length, giving just enough that a less skilled writer would have squandered by overexplaining the impending situation, but still I wish I knew (the author did it right apparently).
I don’t want to give away too much of the story so let’s scale it back a bit to what I can reasonably share. A white family rents a home outside of New York City, some where on Long Island, though I am not sure if it is explicit as to where exactly, for their Summer vacation. They enjoy the sense of isolation and freedom it brings: using the pool, being slobs to a degree, and the parents indulging in their sexual impulses. One night a black couple comes knocking on the door while it is dark, looking for assistance and claiming they are the owners of the home. A mixture of conscious and unconscious biases infect the interactions between the two couples of different races and the story really begins to unfold. Something has happened, a black out of unknown origin, with the outside world seeming to be cut off from them. What will they do?
This story unfolds over a short period of time with the black folks having to justify their success and accommodate this white family of a lesser socio-economic stature than them to a degree that seems all too common, while unknown danger seems to lurk in the greater world. Its delivery was interesting and highlights the inherent sense of priviledge amongst certain groups even in (and most definitely during) a time of crisis. Key takeaway, I hate Amanda (read the book and you’ll understand lol).
Overall, I recommend this book. It was interesting and provocative while exploring important aspects of our society, despite having less than likeable characters. I hope you enjoy it and let me know what you think. Happy reading!